Me duelen las nalgas
Join Date: Aug 2015
Bikes: Univega Via Carisma, Globe Carmel, Motobecane Mirage
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I've used an Ion Speed Pro on every ride since last July. Good value (about $60 on Amazon), no real problems (a couple of minor firmware glitches early on, since resolved). Weatherproof as-is, no need for special housing. Run time per charge, lens, etc., are pretty much like every other action camera.
For rides under 90 minutes I wear it on my helmet, via a mount homebrewed from part of an Ion mount that came with the camera, along with heavy duty velcro tape and zip ties -- I wanted to get the camera as low as possible, so I skipped the standard helmet mount.
For longer rides I'll either strap a small external USB battery onto the camera, or mount it on the handlebar and use a heavier high capacity USB battery to run for hours. Only problem with this method is it compromises the watertight rear seal, which must be removed to access the USB port.
The main problem with most action video cameras is they're not ideal for mundane commuting documentation. The usual 180 degree FOV is too wide for most purposes. Objects such as license plates are too small. At 1080p and 30 fps only some frames are sharp enough to ID a license plate. At 720p and 60 fps the odds of snagging a sharp frame improve, but the image is too small. I need to be really close to a vehicle to reliably snag a clear license plate.
Other limitations include low light sensitivity without excessive noise, and dynamic range. The Ion Speed Pro's sensor is outdated in those characteristics. It's closer to a first generation GoPro. It's pretty much a daylight only camera. At night I'm lucky to record the basic shape and color of a vehicle.
Example: Wednesday afternoon an SUV blew past me at a stop sign, less than three feet to my left. Even at that relatively short range I can't make out a complete license number, recording at 720p/60 fps.
Techmoan reviews on YouTube (good channel) indicate some newer dashboard cams have been image quality. But they aren't designed for bicycles or motorcycles. They can be adapted but it's a bit of a hassle. I may try one mounted on the bike itself to supplement my helmet cam.
I'm leaning toward a Mobius dash cam as a second video camera, mounted to the bike with appropriate power supply and weatherproof housing.
Keep in mind when watching YouTube reviews of dash cams that many reviewers are based in England or elsewhere in Europe where license plates are larger and easier to read at a distance. US license plates are relatively tiny and hard to read. So when watching Techmoan's reviews look for details in passing street signs and similar details that are more comparable to US license plates.